Last week, Liza Long’s sensational blog post, entitled “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” stirred a response that was both mixed and extraordinary. Now, another series of blog posts, with an even more sensational approach, has hit the internet, courtesy of Newsweek columnist David Frum. The series, entitled “I Was Adam Lanza,” is written by a young person (according to Frum’s tweets, a young man) who claims to have suffered the same urges as the child depicted in “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” during his teenage years, despite now being a gainfully employed college graduate.
The series is framed in three parts. Part I deals with the author’s apparent interactions with his mother, part II with his own self-diagnosis, and part III with the media and society’s overall reaction to these events. Highlights from the three parts follow:
Like the author of that piece, Liza Long, my mother had no idea what to do about my sudden transformation (in my case, around 16) into a borderline homicidal maniac. Like her son, I used knives to try and make my threats of violence seem more real. Like her son, I would leap out of our car in the middle of the road just to get away from my mother, over the most trivial of offenses. Like her son, I screamed obscenities at my mother shortly after moments of relative peace. And worse than this poor woman’s son, whose mindset toward his peers we can only guess, I will admit that I fantasized multiple times about taking ordnance to my classmates.[…]
Parents, I cannot stress this enough: the healing process starts with you. Not the mental health community. Not the police. Not the government. Not the school. You.[…]
I didn’t act the way I did because I was a sociopath. Yes, I have more difficulty feeling empathy than other people. But I can feel anxiety – acutely – and sociopaths can’t, because their amygdalae don’t function. Moreover, for me, a mass shooting followed by suicide would have been an act of despair, which is something else sociopaths would be unlikely to feel, given that they emotionlessly focus on self-interest.[…]
What was wrong with me, then? If I had a mental illness, it does not have a time. But the results can be described in very simple English: I was socially isolated, and I was smart.[…]
When I was pondering shooting up my school, I rarely thought of doing it out of malice against the other students. The revenge factor would have been an added bonus, but really, what I wanted was for people to agonize over why I’d done it. Then, maybe, they’d see how badly they’d treated me. I’d be a monster, yes, but a monster with a message.[…]
Someone needs to call out the hypocrisy of a media that performs public autopsies on shooters’ psyches for the sake of hand wringing, and yet still covers these kinds of people like they’re dangerous animals instead of deeply damaged human beings. Everyone always wonders what the shooters were thinking before they pulled the trigger.
The confession has stirred a similar reaction to Long’s article, with everyone from comedian Patton Oswalt to talk show host Laura Ingraham reacting to it. However, given the completely anonymous nature of the series’ author, the backlash has been slower to come. Because of the story’s anonymity, though, it does raise questions about the identity of the author, and whether the account given of the author’s childhood is to be trusted.
In any case, the piece has achieved similar levels of attention to Liza Long’s, as it was the most read story on Newsweek’s entire website yesterday, and Part III is currently the second most read story on the site as of today. It looks like the appetite to try and understand who actually perpetrates the sort of crime that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary may not be dead yet.